The Caring System is a foundation block of CHC—showing genuine care for someone to the point that she is transformed, and pays it forward. Here are three lives irrevocably touched by the System.
Contributed By Gary Sim
As a teenager, Jer Blinn Lim used to suffer from depression and anorexia.
“I was constantly looking for people’s approval,” said Jer Blinn. “I wanted so much to meet everyone’s expectations of me.” The then 19-year-old threw herself into school work and set herself very high academic standards to reach.
In 1999, when her father passed away, Jer Blinn’s condition worsened. Her mood swings became frequent, and she felt constantly depressed and without appetite.
One day, Jer Blinn’s sister invited her to attend a service at City Harvest Church. Hesitant at first, Jer Blinn plucked up the courage to follow her sister to church. This proved to be a significant turning point in her life.
She broke down and wept during the praise and worship. “I can’t describe the feeling, but I was just touched by the presence of God,” she said.
Following her conversion, she quickly settled into a cell group where she found friends who loved her unconditionally; people who accepted her into their spiritual family.
Things were rosy, until the following year. “My mother suddenly passed away due to a brain hemorrhage,” said Jer Blinn. Within two years, she lost both her parents.
“I was still studying at Nanyang Technological University, my sister was in the polytechnic, and I had two younger siblings—one in Primary 6 and the other in Primary 5,” she recalled.
Her seemingly insurmountable challenges were met by the strong support of her cell group friends.
Jer Blinn recounted with a smile: “My cell group members rallied around me, and helped me with the funeral preparations. They demonstrated practical love by staying overnight with me and my siblings at the wake.”
Her cell group leader was also there to advise and help her, as being the eldest, Jer Blinn was suddenly tasked with taking care of all her siblings. “With my mum’s sudden death, I had to adjust to my new role as the surrogate mother of the family,” she said.
It was through the love and concern of church members that this plucky woman grew in confidence in her new role as head of the household. So confident in fact that she also became a cell group leader in 2001.
She was now presented with the opportunity to share the love of Christ to the members in her own cell group. Her sister, Valerie also became a cell group leader that same year.
“The year following my mother’s death, because of the love that had been shown to us, my two younger siblings joined City Harvest Church as well. My grandmother who lived with us, also joined City Harvest Dialect Church in 2004,” said Jer Blinn proudly.
That was when Jer Blinn realized the practicality of a message preached by senior pastor Kong Hee, on the Caring System, which was to “find a need and meet it, find a hurt and heal it.”
“During my entire ordeal, the way all our friends and cell group members helped us, that was the very essence of finding a need and meeting it, finding a hurt and healing it,” said Jer Blinn.
“Through the Caring System, our cell groups grew to 40 people each. And through this ministry, we continue to impact the lives of many others,” she said.
Today, Jer Blinn is no longer the depressed, anorexic teen she once was. She is now the mother of a 6-month-old boy. She is married to another person whose life was also transformed through the Caring System in CHC.
Jared Lim was Jer Blinn’s schoolmate in Temasek Junior College. Now he is her husband.
“I was a backslider, a skeptic and I did not like religion,” said Jared with a wry smile. But one of Jer Blinn’s members invited him to church and he went reluctantly, thinking it was going to be another boring and solemn service.
The lively atmosphere in church, and the passion of the congregation during the praise and worship surprised him. “I was so touched by the Word that was preached that I cried during the altar call,” he said.
All this happened one week before his 19th birthday, at a point where Jared was facing a difficult transition in the army. When he threw his birthday party the following week, all the new friends whom he had met in church came to celebrate with him.
Said Jared: “I was very touched. For the first time, I realized how real the love of God could be. I decided to come back to God, and I made City Harvest Church my spiritual home.”
Over the years, Jared began to grow as a Christian and soon became a cell group leader.
“Today, this church is more than a home to me. As I served together with Jer Blinn in the same zone, we soon fell in love. In 2008, we finally got married! City Harvest Church is not just a spiritual family for me; it became a place for me to start my natural family as well,” he said.
As sub-zone leaders, both Jared and Jer Blinn have also grown their cell groups and today they lead a combined total of more than 100 members.
Jer Blinn’s sister, Valerie, was just 17 when she first attended CHC in 1999.
With the sudden loss of her father that year, she became upset and depressed. Her friend, Eunice Ong invited her to attend a cell group meeting in CHC.
Valerie recalled, “I was shy and apprehensive about making new friends, especially at that low point of my life.”
To her surprise, Ong’s cell group members were fun, friendly and approachable. “Most of all, they were genuine and really cared about me,” she said. “Through the presence of God that I experienced in the church services and Pastor Kong’s dynamic preaching, I found Jesus Christ. So I decided to stay in CHC.”
Soon after, with her newfound love for God, Valerie invited her sister, Jer Blinn, to church. That week, Jer Blinn gave her life to God.
And the rest, they say, is history.
MEETING PRACTICAL NEEDS
Over the years, Jer Blinn has consistently used the Caring System, loving the people around her by meeting their practical needs.
One of her members was constantly having arguments with her parents. She always felt that her parents loved her siblings more than her, and as a result, there were constant shouting matches in the family.
Said Jer Blinn, “As this member started coming to church, I began to spend time with her, to listen and talk to her—basically being a friend to her. Slowly, I got to know her family and even befriended her mother!” Jer Blinn gave Bible study to this member, who began to grow in God.
Today, that member, Seet Suting is a cell group leader, and she is leading a group of 17 members.